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Self-managed work teams: a lean or an autonomous teamwork model?

Teresa Proenca

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2009, vol. 9, issue 1, 59-80

Abstract: The paper examines how similar Self-Managed Work Teams (SMWTs) are to paradigmatic industrial teams – the lean teamwork, the sociotechnical autonomous group and the traditional Fordist group – highlighting their technical/structural, governance and normative characteristics. The SMWTs from two Portuguese industrial firms are analysed using the case-study methodology. Resemblance to the lean teamwork model is more evident than with any other group model. Team members perceive high job enrichment, what resembles the autonomous work group model. However, several team members maintain narrow jobs, numerical flexibility is more evident than functional flexibility and team management comes mainly from outside, which are some of the features close to the 'old' Fordist group. Finally, cooperation behaviours and attitudes between team members are clear features in these teams, but the cognitive dimension of cooperation, similar to collective competence, is not yet noticeable.

Keywords: self-managed work teams; SMWTs; job enrichment; lean teamwork; autonomous groups; cooperative attitudes; cooperation behaviour; Portugal; flexibility; team management; cognitive dimension. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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